Pentecost +21 — Year C
Two notices here.
First, Lepers are an excluded people. It matters not what other identity they could also carry, their exclusion is an identity that supersedes any other. A nation of excluded folks within a nation is a crack in the foundation of that nation. This excluded nation does continually raise a cry from the margin. A prophet/priest does periodically come to release.
As a prophet, Jesus announces freedom. It is as though he said more fully, “Go show yourselves to exclusionary priests who are the gatekeepers of privileged inclusion.” This points toward “outing” one’s self—claiming a place at the table.
While still categorically excluded it is difficult to reveal one’s claim on community. Before an exclusion is excluded it is surprising that even one in ten claimed their belovedness, their basic wholeness, their inherent belonging in the face of categorical discrimination. Being a pioneer in claiming one’s self in the face of exclusion is difficult, difficult work.
Second, once one knows they are whole, not just a person in form but through-and-through, Joy is released. This is shown here with nine out of ten still needing an external validation and obviously not getting such from a discriminating priest. They are not heard of again. Here one comes to a prophet/priest claiming their own with thanksgiving. Indeed, trust is their password—I trust I am whole. [Note: From the discriminating side, Welcome is a sign of a healthy priest.]
Another synonym for faith is following one’s bliss. For an expression of a Leper returning you might get your own T-shirt by one who is still a Leper in The United Methodist Church that categorically excludes gifted and called lesbian women and gay men from ordained ministry simply on the basis of their sexual orientation. Rev. Amy DeLong was tried by the exclusionary priests of her denomination and is still present because of enough prophet/priest on the trial court. You can still support inclusion by purchasing one of her T-shirts
If you are preaching on this text, what would you think about wearing this T-shirt instead of a robe or other professional attire? Would you use this as bulletin cover or video image to preach on?